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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2004 Mar;70(3):1466-74.

Engineering Lactococcus lactis for production of mannitol: high yields from food-grade strains deficient in lactate dehydrogenase and the mannitol transport system.

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Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, 2780-156 Oeiras, Portugal.


Mannitol is a sugar polyol claimed to have health-promoting properties. A mannitol-producing strain of Lactococcus lactis was obtained by disruption of two genes of the phosphoenolpyruvate (PEP)-mannitol phosphotransferase system (PTS(Mtl)). Genes mtlA and mtlF were independently deleted by double-crossover recombination in strain L. lactis FI9630 (a food-grade lactate dehydrogenase-deficient strain derived from MG1363), yielding two mutant (Delta ldh Delta mtlA and Delta ldh Delta mtlF) strains. The new strains, FI10091 and FI10089, respectively, do not possess any selection marker and are suitable for use in the food industry. The metabolism of glucose in nongrowing cell suspensions of the mutant strains was characterized by in vivo (13)C-nuclear magnetic resonance. The intermediate metabolite, mannitol-1-phosphate, accumulated intracellularly to high levels (up to 76 mM). Mannitol was a major end product, one-third of glucose being converted to this hexitol. The double mutants, in contrast to the parent strain, were unable to utilize mannitol even after glucose depletion, showing that mannitol was taken up exclusively by PEP-PTS(Mtl). Disruption of this system completely blocked mannitol transport in L. lactis, as intended. In addition to mannitol, approximately equimolar amounts of ethanol, 2,3-butanediol, and lactate were produced. A mixed-acid fermentation (formate, ethanol, and acetate) was also observed during growth under controlled conditions of pH and temperature, but mannitol production was low. The reasons for the alteration in the pattern of end products under nongrowing and growing conditions are discussed, and strategies to improve mannitol production during growth are proposed.

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